Briefing paper

Description

Climate change is influencing all extreme weather events.

These extreme weather events include hurricanes (referred to as “Tropical Cyclones” in Australia) – because they are now occurring in a more energetic climate system with a hotter, moister atmosphere.

Already, this Atlantic hurricane season has seen devastation with Hurricane Harvey bringing extremely intense and prolonged rainfall and flooding to Texas and Louisiana. Analysis by MetStat (2017) reveals that over a 5-day period the storm delivered 1-in-25,000 year rainfall to a widespread area.

Less than a week after this storm, which resulted in more than 70 deaths and left tens of thousands homeless, Hurricane Irma left a trail of destruction and devastation across the Caribbean and Florida.

This hurricane was one of the most powerful hurricanes on record, with the highest recorded wind speed reaching almost 300 km per hour. At least 50 people have been killed by Irma, and the damage bill of both Hurricanes Irma and Harvey is expected to be approximately $200 billion.

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